A life after addiction is achievable, as long as people are willing to do what’s necessary to make that life become reality. One way to do that is to go through a 12 step program, such as Alcohol Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. There are some strong advantages to going to a 12 step program, and we’ll cover them in this article.
First and foremost, you’re immediately placed into an understanding community. Gone are the days of trying to convince friends and family that you deserve worth as a person. If they can’t see it or if they’re dealing with addiction issues themselves, you can go a better network of people that are committed to supporting you. These programs are often free, run on donations only. So there’s no cost barrier keeping you from the support you need.
Second, there’s a time tested framework in place. There is a rulebook that guides all of the meetings, so everyone tends to stay on task. Can you really say that you would do better on your own, with no real support? Probably not. When you go to a meeting, you know that you’re going at the same time every week. You get to know people that aren’t judging you because of the decisions that you used to make.
Finally, there’s a sense of real community. Just because you don’t have to see these people outside of the meeting group doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to try to reach out and talk to you. We’ve seen cases where people went to AA and found new people to spend time with. When you first get done with your drug of choice, chances are good that the people that you used to socialize with aren’t going to be interested. After all, you left something that they’re not willing to leave just yet, so there is going to be some animosity there. That’s part of the process.
But when you make new friends, you can engage in sober activities that will help you stay on track. There is a strong tradition of anonymity involved as well. No one will say that you’re in AA or NA or any other 12 step program. This means that if you see them at the store, they’ll simply make up a story about how they met you. This gives you the chance to start over without people making judgments about your life.
The air of anonymity is incredible, because it gives you space to sort things out freely. You don’t have to worry about your employer finding out that you have substance abuse issues. Even if your active boss is there at an AA meeting, neither one of you can disclose this information. It’s a protected space for everyone.
Some people think that if you’re from a certain socioeconomic group, you aren’t going to fall victim to substance abuse issues. This isn’t the case at all. There are drug issues plaguing people from all walks of life. Make sure that you think things through as you make your first steps out of addiction. A twelve step program has plenty of amazing benefits…but they all start with your active participation.
It is going to feel a little weird when you first start going to these groups. After all, you don’t know anyone. Maybe you’re still in denial about your problems. But no matter what, you’re going to have to make the decision to move on. It’s what you do after you stop abusing drugs and alcohol that makes all the difference. Be safe!